I have a 2008 Golf 2.0 TDi GT with no ignition lights on the dash. I put the key in the switch and turned but nothing happened. The battery is fully charged, the key fob has a new battery and locks/unlocks the doors and windows but can't start the engine.

The fault started after re-fueling, I got into the car and put the key in and nothing happened. The car doors suddenly locked me in so I pressed the fob to unlock the doors, put key back in and car started. 1 hour later it did the same but now won't start at all. The car has been in an independant VW garage for 7 days but he can't find the fault. He phoned VW and they don't know either.

Has anyone got any ideas - I would appreciate any help.

  • When attempting to start the vehicle can you feel the different detents in the ignition cylinder? Also, does the vehicle crank and then die right away? or does it just not do anything at all?
    – cinelli
    Jun 2, 2013 at 7:55

3 Answers 3


You may need to have the key reprogrammed. I believe that if the vehicle does not recognize a key that has been inserted into the ignition, because of the immobilizer, it will not allow the key to activate the ignition even if the key has been turned. The immobilization method varies between makes and models but this is the general principle. On older Volkswagen models, reprogramming is simple enough for the owner to do; however for the 2008 model of the Golf, I believe you need to take it to a local Volkswagen dealer as the process is much more complicated.

Take a look at this topic: http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthread.php?4841861-key-coding-on-golf-5-2008-model

On the topic of your problem, though, this shouldn't happen. What you described happened somewhat gradually as you said that after the first time it happened, it worked upon retrying; and then the next time it happened, it wouldn't work at all. This leads me to believe that there is an electrical/wiring fault within the ignition/immobilizer system.


I just starting having this trouble with my 2008 Golf 1.9 TDI. Had to call NRMA service but when he arrived checked the battery and all was fine. Couldn't find an ignition fuse to get the ignition up again.

After some stuffing around the car started fine. NRMA said that it can be that the ECU has lost the key encryption and some cars have a port (hidden location) where you insert the key to regain the encryption.

I have regenerated the problems a few times now and it just seems that the key is a bit loose in the switch. Wriggle it a bit and dash lights come up again. Will advise how it goes when I take it in for service.


The insrument panel of your Golf is part of the engine ECU system. Because of the security systems imbedded into your car, you will need to go to a VW main dealer or VW authorised repairer to do any work on this system. An authorised repairer will be able to log into VW systems.

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